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Kelowna man receives life sentence for 2013 murder of common-law spouse

Click to play video: 'Kelowna man sentenced for murdering Theresa Neville' Kelowna man sentenced for murdering Theresa Neville
Watch: A Kelowna man who murdered his common law spouse in 2013 is headed to prison – Jan 24, 2019

Jay Sinclaire Thomson, 62, was handed a life sentence on Thursday for murdering his girlfriend, Theresa Neville, in her Kelowna home in 2013.

Neville, a 27-year-old mother of two, was found on June 18, 2013, shortly after 12:30 a.m., when paramedics responded to a call at a home in the 300 block of Yates Road in Kelowna.

Neville had been stabbed at least 35 times.

The couple’s two children were asleep in the basement when the murder occurred.

Thomson pleaded guilty to the crime earlier this month at the start of what was supposed to be his murder trial.

A life sentence is the automatic punishment for second-degree murder.

READ MORE: Kelowna man pleads guilty to 2013 murder of Theresa Neville

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The main question decided at the sentencing hearing was how long he would have to wait to be eligible for parole.

The justice took the advice of lawyers and set Thomson’s parole ineligibility at 10 years, which is the mandatory minimum.

That was the sentence requested by both the prosecutors and the defence.

Before the sentence was handed down, the court heard four emotional victim impact statements from Neville’s family.

Neville’s mother said that after having to tell her grandchildren their mom was gone, “the night of the murder was the depth of hell.”

READ MORE: Renewed call for clues in murder of Kelowna mother cold case

Court heard that Thomson called police around two and half hours after the murder.

“From that moment until his guilty plea on Jan. 14, 2019, Mr. Thomson denied responsibility and advanced a false alibi,” said the justice when handing down the sentence.

The prosecution said that after the murder, Thomson cleaned himself up, went out and bought donuts and kept the receipt.

Court heard that Thomson then told police that when he returned home from his donut run he saw a man fleeing from the backyard.

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“The false alibi caused the police to embark on an extensive investigation into a nonexistent suspect,” the justice said.

Thomson, who was Neville’s live-in boyfriend, was charged with second-degree murder four years after the crime.

The picture painted in court of Thomson was that of a controlling and jealous man.

READ MORE: Police confirm Glenmore homicide

However, the justice said Neville’s family felt she was reaching a point where she was taking back control of her life.

Court heard that Thomson was 45 when he first met Neville. He was married with four kids, and Neville was only 15 years of age.

“Miss Neville’s family speaks of the nightmare they when through as a result of this crime,” the justice said.

“Her parents and her sister conveyed their feelings of worry and confusion with Mr. Thomson’s courtship of Miss Neville at such a young age and how their worst fears came to be realized by this crime.”

Thomson also gave a relatively lengthy statement to the court during the sentencing hearing.

“I lost everyone and I deserve to,” Thomson said.

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Thomson also described details of the night he killed Neville.

He called it an ordinary night but said the pair argued and that there where knives out because they were eating pizza.

“Theresa was growing up, maturing and going to leave me. I never knew I could be obsessed with somebody like that,” Thomson said.

“I lost it — I grabbed the knife and I lost it. I apologize to everyone for that.”

He argued that the reason he took so long to plead guilty was that he felt he had lost his mind in the moment and had to grapple with the legal issue of whether he was guilty.

– with files from Shelby Thom and Kelly Hayes

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